Sunday, March 26, the One Great Hour of Sharing offering will be collected at St. John’s UCC. Envelopes are available in the pew racks or on the hutch in the sanctuary if you did not receive one in the March 19 bulletin.
“God is most tangibly present in this world where people hunger, thirst, lack adequate clothing and shelter, and are sick or imprisoned….Christ is so present in those who suffer that when you feed the hungry, care for the sick, or welcome the stranger, you feed and care for, and welcome Christ.””
Please give generously to One Great Hour of Sharing on Sunday, March 26.
You arrive home in the evening, tired from a long day, and on the news comes a bulletin about an earthquake, or refugee crisis, or typhoon, or famine that has struck people far away. You watch it on the television, or your computer screen. You’ve seen it all before–the dirty children, the helpless mothers, the smoke and mounds of rubble, people screaming, men gesturing. You say to yourself, “There’s so much misery in the world.” Then, you change the channel. After all, what can you do? You have work the next day, and your life to live. In your wallet might be twenty or forty dollars. How far could that go to help thousands of people? Besides, there are plenty of helping organizations out there to respond.
One Great Hour of Sharing is more than a helping organization. It’s part of the mission of the Christian church. More than just the United Church of Christ; we join with eight other Christian denominations in this work. Together, with those partners, we raise approximately 12 million dollars a year. Of each dollar given, 91 cents is used directly for mission, five cents for printing materials and four cents for administrative costs. With some of the money we support seven missionaries and two interns who are our feet on the ground and arms open wide helping in the midst of disasters, as well as providing health care and long-term initiatives in education and agricultural development.
You can do something other than look in your wallet and feel powerless. We have a way to reach into that news story and make a difference. Think of your response as if you are the father in today’s scripture story of the Prodigal Son. You can watch but you don’t have to stand still; you can run toward the one who needs you and give so our representative is there when it matters. Give because when we join our gifts with others we can make a difference in the world. Share in this ministry because it’s a way we can share the love of Christ with others.
Imagine yourself on the receiving end of that great hug and kiss of a father to a son. Imagine yourself separated from your family by some disaster and there are only strangers all around you. Then picture this: picture someone handing you something warm to drink, a blanket and a way to get home again. Give generously so we can all be there to offer hope to those suffering and to bring home the lost.
Dry heat is hard on the respiratory system, and sand blowing in the desert can catch in the back of your throat creating a husky, scratchy voice. Singers who play Las Vegas call it the “desert voice.” Such a voice would sound as thirsty as it felt. After a long day, a tired and thirsty Jesus sits on the edge of the famed well of Jacob, but with no vessel and no way to get a drink. A woman walks by, a Samaritan woman, a woman with a vessel. He asks her for a drink. Imagine the long sun made shadows on that hot afternoon and hear the quiet, husky, parched voices banter over the meaning of living water. She brings him a drink of potable water and he offers her a spring that will quench her longings and fill her heart with something true.
Where and when Jesus walked, wells were the center of a village. In some parts of the world they still are. However, where drought conditions have decimated the water supply, it is a lucky town that has a viable well. Instead, women and children walk every day for miles to fill one container. In Mozambique, the United Church of Christ has been working on water projects with Global Ministries–digging wells and creating water projects.
In the United States we are facing droughts as well. Many of us take water for granted. Just like we take our spiritual lives for granted. We believe all is well and water will keep flowing even though we do little to make that happen. The thing about a “desert voice” is that you can tell when someone is thirsty. They don’t have to ask. We know what thirst sounds like in the real desert. What does thirst sound like in the spiritual desert? Did the Samaritan woman know she was thirsty for what Jesus had to offer before he spoke to her? Before he told her everything about her life, did her true interior self long for something more? What does spiritual longing sound like? What are the qualities of its desert voice?
You will notice that the food pantry shelves empty out quickly, especially after the third Saturday distribution takes place. Out of our abundance, we need to meet the needs of others. On a Sunday morning, open your cupboard door and pull out a can, box, jar of something and bring it in and place it on the table at the front of the sanctuary. (Please check expiration dates before bringing in items.) Thank you!
Tuesday, March 21–Ladies meet at LuLu’s, 9 a.m.; TOPS, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 22–Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 am.; Choir practice, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 26–Worship service, 10:30 a.m.; Theme: Restored; Text: John 9:1-41; Consistory meets after worship; the choir will sing during the worship service.
If you would like to volunteer for helping serve at Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima on Tuesday, March 28, or May 23, please sign up on the bulletin board in the sanctuary. Helpers are always welcome.
You are missing out on a super way to advertise our church if you are not sharing with many of your other Facebook friends St. John’s Facebook page. There are many interesting articles posted every day. “Friend” all of your friends and ask them to “Like” the St. John’s page–let’s let people know we are here, alive, and moving forward!
In an effort to make this site easier for you to access, it can now be found at www.blufftonstjohns.com! You can still find this page using the old web address, but now it will be easier to tell family and friends where they can find up-to-date news about St. John’s UCC in Bluffton, Ohio.